“Mommy, the monkey are not in cages. Is it dangerous?” asked my four-year-old. The Singapore Zoo, opened in 1973, is a model zoo in the world when it comes to “open zoo” concepts. Instead of enclosing animals in cages or behind bars, they are separated from the public by water ditches, shrubs, moats and the like. Of course, certain animals such as the Siberian tiger are best enjoyed from behind a thick glass wall.
As soon as we came in, we rented a rolling cart to lug the children around. Set on 28 acres, the Singapore zoo is a large territory for children to navigate and I needed mine to be able to enjoy all the animals.
We started off on the left route, going past swinging monkeys in trees above us and sleeping crocodiles on river beds below our feet. Just the lush green of vines and trees towering above us was thrilling. It is quite amazing that a city the importance and size of Singapore retains rainforests and vast expanses of nature like that. You’d never see that in Bangkok for instance, where the city authorities are too busy chopping down trees to make way for car bridges.
We were particularly excited by the variety of monkeys and snakes. You see the monkeys a few feet away, maybe peeling bananas on a raised wooden bed, or clinging to the power lines to get across the path above pedestrians. It is quite extraordinary to see them roaming freely and so close. My youngest one was particularly fascinated by a baby Orang Utang gripping his mother who was literally running around and up the trees. “Look! A baby monkey!” she said, pointing at the baby. She wouldn’t bulge during five minutes.
One of the highlights of the visit was an Asian elephants show that drew crowds from all over the zoo. Five Asian elephants, the largest living animals on earth, performed all sorts of drills and tricks associated with both the Asian culture (pulling logs into water ways and pushing them down the stream) and their natural ability to have fun (sliding their trainers down their trunks, blowing water up in the air like whales, knocking hats off someone’s head and putting them back).
Now, my girls’ real favorite thing – and it’s sad to say – was the playground! I have to admit that their water park features water canoons, jets springing everywhere, fountains flowing on a soft ground. The heat was by means scorching but at 85 Farenheit, children need to be refreshed. My little one also really liked the slides, a clever device using plastic rolls instead of a simple metallic sheet to slide children down.
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Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.